Legislation passed on Pomurje Academic and Science Union

Ljubljana, 16 March - The National Assembly passed in a 43:11 vote on Wednesday legislation elevating the Pomurje Academic and Science Union from a regional association to an entity governed by public law and hence eligible for public funding.

The bill was tabled by several MPs from Pomurje, who have argued that the new institution would promote the growth and quality of the sciences and drive the scientific, cultural and economic development of Pomurje, Slovenia's poorest region.

The Pomurje Academic and Science Union, set up twenty years ago, is currently a regional institution bringing together PhDs from different disciplines.

The authors of the bill said the organisation has been making a difference in the region so it was necessary to come up with a more permanent and institutionalised form.

"This is a concrete contribution to the knowledge-based society that in no way reduced the importance of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts," said New Slovenia MP Jo┼żef Horvat, one of the authors of the bill.

The legislation was confirmed with votes from the government and two opposition parties that tend to vote along government lines, while the remaining parties abstained or voted against.

Some expressed concern about such a regional institution being equated with an institution of national importance such as the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU).